The bomber jacket was originally designed for fighter pilots. In 1917, to keep their pilots insulated in the cockpits, which were not enclosed at the time, the U.S. Army's Aviation Clothing Board issued leather jackets, lined with fur and fitted at the waist and wrists, with high collars. Since then, the original pattern has taken shape on Letterman jackets to the shelves of mainstream fashion stores, and now it's touching down in ski apparel.
And who else but a French company of high-flying Chamoniards to design a bomber jacket for skiers? In their new outerwear line, which debuted this year, the Corpus Bomber is Black Crows' insulated midlayer.
The padded jacket uses Primaloft silver insulation--known for a reasonable warmth-to-weight ratio that packs down small and is breathable, water resistant, soft, and lightweight. The lining is 100 percent polyester with a water-repellent finish. The cuffs and waist material are also water repellent. A chevron pattern weave (a nod to Black Crows' flying V), a topo map of Chamonix's Alps on the inside lining, and zippered hand pockets finish the minimal and clean design.
Since the Corpus Bomber arrived in my closet, it has lived in my car and my ski bag. It packs down so small that I don't think twice about stuffing it in my backpack, suitcase, or tote. Which was especially awesome last spring, when the weather changed quickly, and it was right there whenever I needed to grab it.
When I took it skiing last winter, I wore it over a light merino baselayer and under my bibs and shell. The fit is longer and slimmer than a standard bomber jacket, and if you want to layer any more, I'd recommend sizing up. But I never felt like I needed another layer. It's much like any of the other synthetic layers I've ever used, except it does not have a hood and I'm much more likely to wear it casually and around town.
That's because, at the end of the day, this midlayer is a bomber jacket. And bomber jackets look good. If you look good, you feel good. Unzipped, it was a great jacket to wear over a T-shirt on warmer days. Zipped, it was slim enough to wear under my down vest.
Bottom line--the Black Crows Corpus Bomber is a functional layering piece that has the cut, the style, and the fit to wear when I'm driving into a pow turn, or hopping out of my car and walking to the bar.